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Four Owl Teams Bring LEC Tourney Home

KEENE, N.H., NOV. 2, 2009 - The Little East Tournament comes to Keene State this week. Four Owl teams have earned a spot in their respective tournaments, with men’s and women’ s soccer and field hockey teams grabbing top seeds. The KSC women’s volleyball squad is seeded fourth.

Looking for its sixth-straight LEC tournament title, the Keene State field hockey team (16-4) gets the ball rolling with a quarterfinal game against eighth-seed Salem State (8-8) on Tuesday night (6 p.m.). The Owls, who bring a six-game winning streak into the game, had their hands full against the Vikings earlier this season. Keene State fell behind 1-0, before rallying for a 3-1 victory. “The entire field is tough this year,” said KSC Coach Amy Watson. “We’re going to need to be on top of our game, if we want to continue our run of Little East championships.”

Also on Tuesday night, the defending champion Keene State women’s volleyball team (18-16) takes on fourth-seed Rhode Island College (17-18) in a quarterfinal match scheduled for 7 p.m. at Spaulding Gym.

Winners of eight out of their last nine matches, the Owls defeated the Anchorwomen 3-1 back on Oct. 24. “It’s tough to beat a team twice in a short period of time, but we’re playing better and everyone is stepping up,” said KSC Coach Bob Weiner. “We’re still the conference champions until someone takes it away from us.”

Both Keene State men’s and women’s soccer teams move right into semifinal- round action. The KSC men (13-6) face fourth-seed UMass-Dartmouth (9-6-2) on Wednesday (6 p.m.), while the Owl women (13-5-2), who get a first-round bye, take on the winner of the #4 Western Conn.-#5 Southern Maine game on Thursday (6 p.m.).

KSC men’s soccer coach Ron Butcher knows his team must play better than the last time they faced the Corsairs (a tough 1-0 home loss), if they hope to advance. “They took it to us the first time,” he said. “We came out as flat as a pancake and had no answer for their style of play. It’s one game and out, so we can’t afford any mental lapses.”

During the regular season, the Keene State women’s soccer team tied Western Conn. (1-1) and defeated Southern Maine (4-1). It’s the first time since 2004 that the Owls have the chance to host both semifinal and final games. “It’s great that we’re able to be the top seed and host, but we need to take care of business on the field,” said KSC Coach Denise Lyons. “Home field won’t help us if don’t come out ready to play on Wednesday.”

All four Owl teams would advance with wins. While the KSC women’s volleyball team would head down to Boston on Friday for a semifinal game (4 p.m.) against the Beacons, the remaining KSC teams have an opportunity to stay home. The Owl field hockey team would play a semifinal game on Thursday (6 p.m.), and with a win, a championship game on Saturday (12 p.m.), while both men’s women’s soccer teams would advance to title contests on Saturday. The women’s championship would be played at 12 p.m., followed by the men’s final at 2:30 p.m.

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